LIGA NOS: PORTO 4 – 1 PORTIMONENSE
Portimonense’s latest visit to defending champions and league leaders Porto also represented a return to familiar surroundings for several participants on various levels.
Manager António Folha spent the best part of 36 years at the club as both player and coach; former striker Jackson Martinez set new goal-scoring records during his three seasons at the Estádio do Dragão between 2012-2015; summer ‘transfer’ Paulinho returned south after having been deemed surplus to requirements during pre-season by Porto manager Sérgio Conceição and, finally, Ewerton who did sign for the champions but is currently back with the Algarveans on loan illegible for this match.
Defying the expectations of the 33,500 home fans, Folha’s men made a bright start with Jackson and Shoya Nakajima combining well in the ninth minute for Vítor Tormena to head home at the far post. The visitors could have doubled their lead shortly afterwards when Nakajima was brought down by Felipe in the area, but referee Manuel Mota failed to award what appeared to be a clear penalty.
The man in black then ruled out a 17th-minute Brahimi strike for off-side, but there was no denying Porto’s equaliser moments later as Marega rose above the Portimonense defence to meet an Alex Telles’ corner kick.
Paulinho then went close to putting the Algarveans back in front before keeper Ricardo Ferreira pulled off a top class save from Soares at the other end. As half time approached, Jackson and Nakajima continued to cause Casillas problems in the Porto goal and the match ended all square at the end of the opening playing period.
The introduction of Herrera for the wayward Oliver Torres after the interval changed the complexion of the game, however. Within 10 minutes, goals from Soares, Brahimi and Marega again finished the encounter as a meaningful contest and the remaining half-hour was played out without further major incident.
Porto remain top ahead of Sporting Lisbon with Portimonense maintaining relative safety in 11th place, four points clear of the relegation zone, ahead of tomorrow’s (Friday) home clash with Vitória de Setúbal.
Unfortunately, yet another good performance from Shoya Nakajima only served to strengthen previous interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers, both the player and club president Rodiney Sampaio admitting that there is more than a strong possibility that the Japan international will move to the English Premier League for close to €20 million as early as next month.
By SKIP BANDELE
Photo: Portimonense coach António Folha spent over 30 years at FC Porto